The Unused Name Among the Urdu Names

The writer of the following article apologizes to the many young Pakistani mothers for the absence in her article of any of the Urdu names for girls. The writer was seeking to convey a particular point, a fact concerning the Islamic religion. In order to concentrate on that one point, the writer needed to focus on the male names that are used by the Pakistani families.
The list of Urdu names underlines the importance of the Islamic religion among the people of Pakistan. That is especially true, if one focuses on the Urdu names for male children. While a Pakistani family often names a son “Muhammad,” there is one name that such a family will never use.

Yet “next-door,” in Iran, the same name has often been chosen by Iranian parents as the name for a newborn son. At the same time, those Iranian families share with Pakistani families the willingness to name a son “Muhammad.”

What name used in Iran is missing among the Urdu names? Why is there this noticeable difference between Iranian names and Urdu names? Those questions will be answered in the following paragraphs.

A visit to a Pakistani hospital could easily lead to discovery of a male infant named either “Muhammad” or “Omar.” A visit to an Iranian hospital could well lead to discovery of a male infant named “Muhammad” or “Ali.” One would find no mention of “Ali” among a list of Pakistani names, and one would find no mention of “Omar” among a list of Iranian names.

Those facts are due to difference in the religious beliefs between the people of Pakistan and the people of Iran. The people of Pakistan are Sunni Muslims. They accept Omar as the one designated by Muhammad as his successor. The people of Iran feel that Ali was the one appointed by Muhammad to be his successor.

That is why one will have little chance of finding a boy named “Ali” in the home of a Pakistani family. “Ali” has never been considered as one of the many Pakistani names. By the same token, one will have little chance of finding a baby named “Omar” among a group of Iranian babies.

Coincidentally, Urdu names do share some of the same names that one does find in the Bible. That fact underscores the degree to which the Pakistani people do share certain beliefs with the people of other revealed religions.
A group of Pakistani youth might contain one or more boys named “Ismail,” “Esmail” or “Ibrahim.” Those names should sound vaguely familiar to a reader of the Holy Bible. They are taken from the story of the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. While those Urdu names are not spelled the same way as the Hebrew names, the family using any of those names has the same respect for that prophet and his son.

Another name often found among a list of Urdu names is one that contains the word “Abdul.” That word means servant, and it is often used as the first half of a boy’s name. Abdul Karim, Abdul Hamid and Abdul Hafeez are all examples of Urdu names.

Being good Muslims, Pakistani families would never name a child “Allah.” They can and do, however, include the word “allah” within some male names. That explains why one can sometimes find a Pakistani boy with a name such as “Zekrrollah” or “Nasrallah.” That same ending would never be added to the name of any Pakistani girl. That too would represent an action that ran counter to the Muslim traditions.

An understanding of Muslim traditions and Muslim beliefs helps anyone who wants to gain an understanding of Pakistani names.
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